Caught by the River

Mend and make do: a poem by Martha Sprackland

Martha Sprackland | 30th September 2016

The arm of my sunglasses – now they are so level
even my crooked face parades a certain symmetry.

This front tooth, whose bedrock is endodontic filler,
was cleared of pain and fixed. The molar at the bottom left waits its turn.

A milk jug cleft from base to lip. A commemorative plate.
All cracked crockery restored with ethyl cyanoacrylate

in branching shellshocked patterns underneath the glaze.
Spider webs repaired after a gust of sudden wind.

A broken bone, if only just this toe. Perhaps not even that.
The touchscreen of my smartphone, the casing of my laptop,

the lock button of my tablet computer (I am not to be trusted
with fragile or expensive things). My fingernails broken, always.

On the first night with a boyfriend years ago I
reached out for the water in the hot Spanish night, clocked

the water level wrong and hoicked it with its nothing-weight
into the overhanging glass lampshade. No mending it,

the glittering gravel of broken glass across the bedroom floor,
the bedclothes, the sleeping boyfriend’s bare skin. Best

just to tiptoe out of that one. There’s a formula, probably –
can the broken thing be salvaged, the pieces located and all gathered up?

Does it hold sentimental or intrinsic value?
Once mended, will it still hold water?

Martha Sprackland on Caught by the River/on Twitter